There never seems to be a day that goes by without some mention of the childhood obesity epidemic which has been spreading around the world in recent decades. It has been estimated that about 1 in 6 kids in America are obese, which is a scary figure.
Childhood obesity is preventable, but for numerous reasons, the problem is getting worse rather than better. In this post, we will look at why this issue is so serious and what can be done to stop it in its tracks.
More Than Just Baby Fat
We all have photos of us as kids with chubby cheeks, but obesity is a much more dangerous illness which can have far-reaching consequences for a child’s physical and mental health, both now and in the future.
- Obesity increases the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, as well as bone and joint issues.
- Obesity has a major impact on a child’s self-esteem, as they are at risk of bullying and teasing which can lead to low self-worth and depression.
If a child is obese, then they are at risk of having mental and physical problems throughout their life. For example, a child who is overweight is much more likely to become obese as an adult.
Why Do Kids Become Obese?
Many people think it is just the modern lifestyle of TV, electronic devices, and junk food which account for the rise in obesity. And while they certainly play a part, the situation isn’t quite that simple.
Some of the reasons why kids become obese are:
- Overweight Parents
- Poor Eating Habits At Home
- Not Enough Exercise
What Can We Do?
The good news is there are many things we can do as parents to reduce the risk of our kids becoming overweight.
As parents, the first thing we can do is be positive role models for our kids. It is hard to get our kids to eat a balanced diet if they grow up watching us eating junk food and TV dinners.
This can start from the moment they begin to eat solids. Babies love different colors and textures, so this is a great way to introduce fruits and vegetables.
It is not just fruits and vegetables that help though. Having a balanced diet low in sugar and saturated fats will help your little ones develop better.
You can even help before that as well by breastfeeding. The breast milk gives your baby all the necessary nutrients they require and can help to regulate their weight.
Kids love to explore and play, but unfortunately, the modern lifestyle involves exploring from a seated position. A lack of movement can have an adverse effect on the growth and development of our little ones.
Therefore, as parents, we should develop good habits in our kids from a young age by playing games outside, going to the park, and limiting the amount of time we spend watching TV and using our electronic devices.
From the moment your child is born, they should receive regular newborn and well-child exams to make sure they are healthy. During these exams, the doctor will check the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the baby. This will help identify any early signs of obesity and give lots of time to reverse the changes before further damage can occur.